FFL staff worked with two assisted living facilities to promote upgrading their old fixtures and using better irrigation practices; water bills.
Sugarmill Manor’s water usage
Brentwood Retirement Community’s water usage
The Dorchester of Palm Beach is a four-acre, luxury condominium property located on 400 feet of ocean beach frontage and surrounded by lush tropical plants.
Since installing a smart irrigation controller for their 26 zone irrigation system they:
The Dorchester’s bills for the previous two years showed that they had saved over one million gallons of water and about $6,000 on their water bill in just the first seven months of using the new smart irrigation controller.
The conventional irrigation was retro fitted to micro-irrigation. The grass, especially under the trees, was in decline, and the shrubs and perennials were overplanted, which gave the landscape an unattractive and overcrowded appearance. The community removed the turf, added new Florida-Friendly plants and trees and transplanted the overcrowded plant material.
Installed FFL materials, such as mulch, earth-toned pavers, crushed sea shells and egg rock pebbles, fieldstone boulders into the landscape.
This project resulted in a landscape that is not only drought resistant and low in maintenance (no mowing, minimal watering) but is also visually and artistically appealing.
saved an average of 8,775 gallons per month
The Villages government annex and Sumter County public library annuals were replaced with Florida-Friendly perennials. Perennial water-wise plants suited for the right place, last longer and have less maintenance costs as compared to bedding annuals.
Prior to 2010, annual beds were installed four times a year. Maintenance included irrigation, fertilization, weeding, pest control and deadheading plants to keep them aesthetically pleasing. During 2010, these annuals were replaced with a water-wise, relatively pest free plant that required far less maintenance than the annuals that the county were currently using.
$2,935.68 will be saved every year by using the recommend Florida-Friendly water-wide perennial.
The additional benefits associated by using a Florida-Friendly water-wise plant such as Bulbine frutescens, is that Bulbine frutescens attracts honeybees and other pollinating insects.
As a result of FFL training a Master Gardener was able to convince the HOA board to reduce lawn irrigation of an association of 35 families from a 4 to 5 times per week down to 2 times per week. In June of 2012, she was able to convince the board to reduce lawn irrigation to once per week.
Cobblestone At Eagle Harbor Condominum Association Inc
Too much shade resulted unhealthy turf that is not able to take up nutrients to prevent erosion. They also have poor pruning practices
By implementing FFL Practices, water use was reduced by 6.4 million gallons over 2 yrs (34.1 million gal →27.7 million gal)
After delivering series of FFL classes, one of the three villages in Ocean Gallery, the Village Las Palmas community decided to decrease irrigation cost and save water for common areas. They applied low volume irrigation, installed soil moisture sensor, and replaced difficult-to-maintain turf grass areas with groundcovers, which require less irrigation and maintenance. They saved 10 million gallons of water in 2.5 years and saved $ 6,500 for maintenance.
Ten million gallons of water in 2½ years, and $6,500/year
A team effort among the homeowners’ association, the utility, the St. Johns River Water Management District, UF Extension, the garden club, and the residents, resulted in a 40 percent water savings in two years.
The community reduced water use from a high of over 400 gallons per person per day, to a low of 179 gallons per person.
Spruce Creek Golf and Country Club in Marion County is a great example of a collaborative effort to conserve water. The community was experiencing low water pressure and high water use up until a few years ago. A team effort among the homeowners’ association, the utility, the St. Johns River Water Management District, UF Extension, the garden club, and the residents, resulted in a 40 percent water savings in two years. The association changed its covenants to allow less turf—a minimum of 50 percent in the yard, and they began to allow rain barrels. The utility moved to a one-day per week watering rotation and ran an aggressive water conservation education program, sending out flyers with their bills. The garden club distributed stickers as reminders about the watering days to roughly half of the 3,600 households and helped residents set irrigation controllers. The garden club also established a Florida-Friendly demonstration garden. The FFL extension agent continues to conduct education classes each month. And the utility is pursuing use of reclaimed water to further reduce use of potable water for irrigation.
Is the first development to incorporate Florida-friendly landscaping throughout the community. The developers paid attention to its unique location abutting Oscar Scherer State Park, a recognized habitat for the threatened Florida scrub jay.
The community has made strong efforts to reduce water consumption in the landscape by installing a satellite controlled irrigation system and using stormwater primarily for irrigation.
In response to recent water restrictions, Pelican Preserve has reduced the golf course irrigation by 30% and the average household water consumption for irrigation is typically very low at 650 – 714 gal/mo/household. The community participates in a voluntary water quality monitoring program which they began in Feb 2002 as part of their certification by Audubon International.
St. George Plantation Homeowners’ Association (SGPOA) embarked upon a long term Master Landscaping Plan (MLP) for conservation and sustainability, incorporating principles of the Florida Friendly Landscaping Program (FFLP).
In early 2011, in order to broaden these efforts with a more comprehensive approach, the Plantation Board of Directors adopted Florida-Friendly Landscaping (FFLP) policies.
amended the architectural Design Guide to encourage the FFLP principles and palette of plantings for all individual home construction, renovation and landscaping.
Year One 2012:
Volunteers began hand-clearing invasive vegetation on common property to reveal vistas overlooking the Bay
Year Two 2013:
Year Three 2014:
Irrigation costs were busting the budget of the Royal Stewart Arms condominium complex, located on Honeymoon Island in Dunedin.
“We were spending almost $40,000 a year,” said Sharon Wilson, property manager for the complex that includes eight residential buildings with 449 condos. “Because we border a sensitive area and reclaimed water is not available to us, we knew we had to look at other solutions.”
Royal Stewart Arms residents transformed the front of their complex using Florida-friendly landscaping principles. Now they use less water and have a beautiful entrance.
Linda Hildenbrand, one of the landscape committee members, contacted Heitzmann, who met with the landscape committee and property manager before attending a board meeting. She suggested the association make over the entrance and some of the common areas by transforming them into Florida-friendly landscapes. She also suggested they install micro-irrigation in the areas and apply for grants to help pay for the project.
The association secured a grant for $8,887 from the city to expand the planting areas in the front of the complex. Al Blalock, landscape committee chair, took the lead on the project by teaching volunteers and the maintenance workers how to retrofit the irrigation system with micro-irrigation.
Blalock and about 20 residents did a variety of tasks, including shrub removal and other ground preparation as well as installing the micro-irrigation system and the new Florida-friendly plants. They also installed rain shutoff devices.
Blalock manually turned the micro-irrigation system on during the plants’ establishment period. He continues to monitor the plants in all the common areas, turning on the water only when it is needed.
Blalock also learned they could do the same with the grass, skipping a week of irrigation when the lawn did not need it.
“Doris told us that turf goes dormant in the winter months and does not need as much water to survive,” said Blalock. “We were worried when it got a little brown, but it grew back and looks as good as ever.”
Heitzmann taught the community how to look for the first signs of drought and to irrigate only when turf and plants indicate stress.
Before learning about the “skip-a-week” concept and installing micro-irrigation in Florida-friendly landscaped areas, Royal Stewart Arms used 3,640,000 gallons of potable water for irrigation between Oct. 2006 and June 2007. This cost $17,597.
After learning about the benefits of skipping a week of irrigation, they decided to take it one step further.
“We do more than skip a week, we skip months,” said Hildenbrand.
During Oct. 2007 and June 2008, the community did not irrigate the common areas. The association only used 693,000 gallons of water for irrigation, which cost $3,676. That’s a savings of 2,947,000 gallons of water and $13,921 over the same period as the previous year!
“The documented water and cost savings are impressive,” said Sallie Parks, District Governing Board member and co-chair ex officio of the Pinellas-Anclote River Basin Board.
Parks learned about the condo association’s efforts through her work at the District and attended a Dunedin city commission meeting in support and recognition of their efforts at Royal Stewart Arms.
“It takes a champion to lead,” said Parks. “This condo association is an example to the city and the entire community.”
If you would like to learn more about Florida-friendly landscaping, visit the District’s web site at WaterMatters.org/yards/. There is also a link on the page that leads to the contact information for the county Extension offices and Florida Yards & Neighborhoods coordinators